Is going vegan enough? What can we do?

In response to Bob Linden’s showing of the Conklin Dairy video from YouTube at JCNC, some audience members were outraged. “Is this legal?” they asked. Bob responded by saying there had been legal charges brought against the owner, however, similar abuses are widespread. The audience continued to express agitation “What can we do?” “Going vegan does not solve the problem”, they said. They did not seem entirely satisfied by the speaker response that going vegan is the first thing we should do. I think we have to have the integrity to give up the product for which this violence is committted. Bob mentioned that activism in which others engage- videotaping, protesting, etc. I don’t think members of an immigrant community are likely to participate in this kind of protest, focused as they are on making a life in a new place and fitting into mainstream society. (Though my and succeeding generations might….) I brought up the example of Jains in Indian history influencing kings to have slaughter-free days. And some contend that vegetarianism was not as consistent in non-Jain traditions as in Jainism, so that the vegetarianism we see in India is largely the result of Jain influence. I can’t imagine exactly how we could exert this kind of influence in American society. But maybe there are ways that our collective imaginations can develop. I hope people don’t use the excuse that we can’t change what happens to dairy cows to justify their continued consumption. Jains have refrained from eating meat even though they can’t stop slaughter everywhere.

One response to “Is going vegan enough? What can we do?

  1. Greetings! Congratulations on the Vegan Jain website. This is so wonderful. It was truly an honor to be invited to speak at the 10th anniversary of the Jain Center of Northern California. I have felt a strong kinship with Jains since first becoming aware them, which was coincidentally at the time of the JCNC’s opening ten years ago, which I attended. I could not have imagined then that I would be an invited speaker for the 10th anniversary. I so admire the precepts of Jainism, of compassion, non-violence, of our purpose in life being to help others, to love animals, to live and let live. Thank you for the noble gift of ahimsa. Immigrant populations often enter a country and want to assimilate, to “fit in”, to be like everyone else. That is just what this country does not need related to the Jain community. This society needs to be influenced by Jains, not the other way around. Please don’t assimilate. You have influenced India disproportionately to your numbers, and if there is to be any sanity in the world, you must also do so here. It struck me at the 10th anniversary celebration that the Jain community is ready to abandon its one blaring contradiction and most severe violation of ahimsa – dairy consumption. I don’t know why the animals chose me to be their spokesperson hosting the first vegan and animal right program ever broadcast in mainstream media, but it has been my job for 10 years informing the public of the atrocities of meat and dairy production and consumption. Meat and dairy and leather are all one and the same – himsa, himsa, himsa. Every steak, every glass of cow’s milk, every piece of cheese, every hamburger, every bowl of yogurt, every spoon of ghee, every dish of ice cream, every smear of butter, every slice of veal is the product of cow rape, cow kidnapping, cow starvation, cow infanticide, cow skinning, cow dismemberment, cow stabbing, cow beheading, cow murder. Holy cow? Of course I did not wish to offend my hosts and audience when I spoke at the 10th anniversary celebration. I recognize that there has been a cultural connection to dairy consumption. But I came to speak for the cows, and if I can’t talk about compassion for those poor suffering beings at a Jain gathering without a sympathetic response and new converts to veganism, then where is the true dedication to ahimsa? Yes, the audience was outraged after seeing the video I showed of the Conklin dairy farm abuse. People wanted laws passed, prosecution, arrests – as if this were an isolated incident. There is no removing the himsa and violence from any industry that uses animals to produce a product, be it food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, a circus. The animals are reduced to commodities, “things”, to be imprisoned, tortured, and killed. So, the audience was not satisfied with my solution – to GO VEGAN? What other solution is there? Elect me President tomorrow. I will ban meat and dairy immediately. How likely is that to happen? The only legal solution is to eliminate demand for products of himsa – products of cruelty, violence, and murder. You must GO VEGAN. It is the Jain thing to do. Why would you pay someone to abuse the cows as we saw on the video? And what we saw on the video was a “good” day in their lives compared to all else they must endure. In response to my talk, people are writing saying that as an immigrant community, we are unlikely to participate in protests and activism. As a vegan for nearly 30 years, I have concluded that the best hope is education – on as massive a scale as possible. Because of my background in broadcasting, I was able to develop the first program ever in mainstream American media that is a voice for compassion for animals, improved human health, and environmental sustainability. My challenge is that I must pay radio stations for airtime, as I do on GREEN 960 in San Francisco every week, as I have with KTLK in Los Angeles, and in the past on the Air America network of 26 radio stations nationally. The Jain community can support my show financially, and in the subject line of your donation check, you can write “ahimsa”. You can make tax-deductible donations to my non-profit, or pay directly to radio stations – whatever you want. My goal is not money for myself – it’s to reach as many people as possible on behalf of the animals – all animals. There are over 300 free archives and podcasts available to hear at http://www.GoVeganRadio.org. You may want to hear my discussions of Jainism on shows uust prior to the 10th anniversary in late July and early August. If you would like to express your activism or ahimsa through a tax-deductible donation, please make your check payable to GO VEGAN RADIO and mail to PO Box 475414, San Francisco, CA 94147. You can contribute online by clicking DONATE at http://www.GoVeganRadio.org. You can also sponsor and advertise vegan and cruelty-free products and services. I can be reached at Bob@GoVeganRadio.com. THANK YOU. Please GO VEGAN!

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